Monday, September 6, 2021
Here are extracts from part 1 (this should have come before part 2) and my comments.
Some of these folks are experienced educators. But many of them derive their beliefs from the newspapers, from pundits and commentators, from business interests and various other interest groups.
Most of these pundits are those with a vested interest. The rest are those who believe what they read without questioning. Thinking is one of the most difficult things for a majority of the people.
A fair number of these people adhere as well to an unproven, but strongly held belief that they actually know the "real reason" for Minnesota's achievement gap failures.
I know the real reason why about 20% of kids are unable to decode words. When they are unable to decode by end of grade one, they are unable to catch up in grade two and beyond and leave school as functional illiterates.
Therefore, teaching kids in kindergarten in a way that the kids will not shut down from learning to read will greatly reduce the number of kids leaving school as functional illiterates.
The research also shows that spending resources in ways that reduce class sizes for young children and those with greater academic needs and that improve teacher quality have strong payoffs for outcomes.
Class size is an excuse created by the western world. If we check schools with smaller class sizes, we will still get about 20% who would have shut down from learning to read.
What does ‘those with greater academic needs’ mean? Take it from me that these (roughly) 20% of kids who shut down are actually intelligent kids. They will excel in school once the barrier to their reading, which is confusion, is cleared.
About 15% of all students, or more, have the learning disability called dyslexia. Minnesota's public schools have a dreadful record, by and large, with these students, and the reason is well known. These students need a different approach to reading, to the decoding of the written language, then Minnesota currently offers in most districts.
This is the lie perpetuated by the people with a vested interest. The truly dyslexic is less than a fraction of one per cent. The majority are kids who have shut down due to confusion. They don’t need a different approach. The correct approach will get almost all the kids to read at grade level by end of year one.
Stop! Think! How is it that after a short period of intervention all the kids who received intervention could be brought to grade level and maintained at grade level from then on?
Numerous parents across the state --- and across the country -- who have figured that out, hire Orton Gillingham trained tutors, and at their own expense, these parents are reporting outstanding, school career saving results. The money that they spend, the extra tutoring time, transforms their students. The cost of providing these services in a public school setting is well known to be substantial, and probably no less than providing it in a private setting. I wouldn't care to advise the parents who are paying hard earned money to buy dyslexia tutoring are wasting their money because more money can't improve educational results. Of course it can!
No! We don’t need more money to teach as in a private setting. More money if available may be spent on many other areas including having a well-stocked up library.
I could make money and buy better food for my wife and me by charging for my lessons but I chose not to as I want my lessons to be available to the poor parents who are unable to afford private lessons.
Many parents have benefitted from my free lessons. Unfortunately, for many parents anything that is provided free is considered useless.
Suppose, then, that the state figured out how much it would cost to provide students who have the characteristics of dyslexia with the same desperately needed dyslexia service that parents are now paying for out of their own pocket.
1% of kids with dyslexia traits have been expanded to include all kids who are unable to read. I researched this and have successfully taught more than 70 so-called dyslexic kids.
Would Minneapolis be able to allocate staff, or hire capable staff, able to deliver an effective program of dyslexia education to elementary students, and how would the district coordinate that program with administrators, the existing reading program, and with the districts supervision, staff development and teaching and learning program.
Read the preface and notes to my lessons on my blog and then follow my lessons on my blog and YouTube channel and all kids will be able to read. Get teachers to read my blog posts and then ask me any questions they may have with regards to my blog posts.
Suppose that the state allocated $2,000,000 to Minneapolis and the resulting reading program was no different from the current program? Would that prove that money can't improve educational results; would it prove that money doesn't improve educational results, or would it prove that there is something terribly wrong with the way in which Minnesota's public education system is structured, and that if we want money to make a difference, Minnesota must do something more than add money to the system?
Response: It is not only Minnesota but all states and countries in the world who can improve the literacy standards by making sure that the first rung on the ladder is not faulty.
If you want to go East but you turn west it does not matter how fast your horse travels you will be going further and further from the destination you wanted to reach.